Whitetails and Vehicles
Hunters are constantly on the lookout for animals while deer hunting, but this is not always the case while we’re driving. Most accidents, auto or otherwise, happen when we are not fully engaged in what we are doing. It’s a result of being complacent or preoccupied with other stuff in our lives. There are a multitude of things to focus on when driving on “down time” (ie. not hunting) as well as while we are heading to and from our favorite deer hunting grounds.
We are busy navigating winding roads, trying to keeping at least one eye on the vehicle in front of us, changing radio stations, checking our hunting packs to make sure we didn’t forget our grunt call, rattling horns, and the like as well as receiving or sending those occasional text messages even though we know we should be focused on the road in front of us… as well as the deer!
We often know which stretches of road are the hot spots, the places were deer typically cross back and forth. State highway department’s have even marked many of them for drivers using the readily-identifiable deer crossing sign, but it’s the places where we don’t expect deer that can get us.
The Experts on Deer-Auto Collisions
Source: U.S. drivers are just as likely to have a claim involving a collision with deer, elk or moose than they were last year, according to new claims data from State Farm. The odds drivers will have a claim from hitting one of those animals is 1 out of 169, the same as it was in 2014. That likelihood more than doubles during October, November and December, when deer collisions are most prevalent.
For the ninth year in a row, West Virginia tops the list of states where an auto insurance claim is most likely to occur. The odds a driver in the Mountain State will have a claim did improve to 1 in 44, up from 1 in 39 in 2014, an 11.4% decrease. Hawaii rounds out the bottom of the list also for the ninth year in a row with odds of 1 in 8,765.
Peak Times for Deer Accidents
“Periods of daily high-deer movement around dawn and dusk as well as seasonal behavior patterns, such as during the October-December breeding season, increase the risk for auto-deer collisions,” said Ron Regan, executive director for the Association of Fish & Wildlife Agencies. “Changes in collision rates from year to year are a reflection of changing deer densities or population levels – more deer in a given area increases the potential for collision and other costs associated with whitetail. Deer populations are also affected by conditions such as new or improved roads with higher speeds near deer habitat, winter conditions, and other related factors.”
So, whether you’re just running some errands or heading out to hopefully bag a deer, make certain to keep an eye out for those four-legged critters. The is especially important to remember during the whitetail breeding season since bucks increase their movements substantially. They can show up in some fairly unusual places and one of those places should not be your radiator.
It’s much better to bag a deer with your bow or gun rather than your vehicle, and it’s a lot lest costly. Deer-auto collisions can equate to big costs in terms of property damage, but it can also cost you your life. Slow down, be careful and good luck out there!